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The experts tell us we should write useful and engaging blog posts, but a lot of us don’t even know where to start. Maybe we are under the mistaken impression it’s because we are not a good enough writer, or perhaps, we just can’t come up with any decent ideas, to begin with.
I know the feeling all too well. I sit and stare at my computer screen and type a few hastily-written sentences, and then I blank out.
It’s a horrible feeling.
But, if we know what we are going to write about and how we are going to write it beforehand, this rarely ever happens.
At least, it doesn’t happen to me anymore.
Here are a few tips from my arsenal of secrets that help me write incredible blog posts every time.
Secret #1: Know the Topic and Plan a Strategy Before You Write a Blog Post
When I am not typing something, I am constantly thinking of new ideas and interesting topics to write about. In fact, I am always writing. Whether I am in the shower or driving to an appointment, I am taking mental notes about what is happening around me and generating ideas.
The first chance I get, I record them in the Evernote app to keep track of everything that runs through my brain.
I never know when inspiration may strike. I used to keep a little notebook with me, but Evernote makes it so much easier, and I can add detail, so I have more material to work with when I sit to write.
Most of the time, unless I am in the zone and the words are flowing freely, I like to write a short outline—how I want to present my information and specific points I want to make.
I write down sentences that serve as the main ideas for my post, which turn into headings and subheadings in the finished post.
Then, I jump on Google and look at what others have written to get material to fill in the spaces between my ideas.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not telling you to steal someone else’s work. Summarize what they have written and rewrite the facts in your own unique style, and more importantly, make it better.
After you have done this, you have the first draft, and it will be much, much easier to do the hard work of creating something inspired and great from that.
If you do this enough, you will get to a point where your experience and knowledge will start to fill in the gaps in your writing, and you won’t have to search for inspiration on Google. Sure, you will still need to research, but eventually, you will write in flow and forget about being blocked.
Secret #2: Show Empathy
One of the least known secrets to a good blog post is to show empathy when you write.
I must admit: this is not my idea, but one learned from Jon Morrow at SmartBlogger.com. He is a master at writing with empathy and credits his success in blogging in part to learning how to empathize with his reader and show it in his writing.
Empathy Versus Sympathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It is a much different thing than sympathy. To show the difference, watch this great video from Brené Brown:
Empathy is staying off a high horse and getting down to our reader’s level and showing you know how they feel because you’ve been there before.
Try to avoid sympathy because it makes what you write sound hollow and disingenuous.
After you have established a common ground, you can offer solutions to help them get through whatever situation they may be struggling with at the time.
This commonality between you and the reader will shine through in your writing and make it much easier for you to create a blog post on a topic which you are passionate about.
Secret #3: Tell a Story
Storytelling is a lost art but one that is very important to learn if you want to connect with the audience in your writing
When I first started blogging, many, many years ago, I had some success because I was always honest and I told stories about my life and the things I was dealing with at that moment. People connected with me because they felt many of the same things I did.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was doing two things right: showing empathy and telling stories.
The writing may not have been the best, but people related to my stories and always came back to read more.
You can spice up even the most boring subject by telling stories. Think of the authors who you would consider the best writers, and I bet they are great storytellers whether they write fiction or not.
When you are planning your posts, pepper them with stories, whether they are personal or the stories of others. They could be about something you heard or read or a scene from your favorite TV show that relates to what you are writing about in the blog post.
A few stories here and there will turn a good post into a great one.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Of course, there is a lot more to good writing than these three things. Other tricks you can easily find on the internet will help you get unstuck and able to inspire others.
If you start at the bottom (everyone does) and improve over time, you will eventually be able to write effectively and with ease. Don’t try to do or learn everything at once. Start out using one or two elements and get better at including them in everything you write.
No one is a great writer when they first start. It takes time and practice to get all the basics right and write something truly stirring.
I don’t see myself as a great writer, but with each story or article I post, I get better. If you seek to improve each time, you will get to a point where people will come back, again and again, to see what you have written.
Have a little patience. Be honest and genuine, and always aim to tell a good story.
What tips do you have that you use to write remarkable blog posts? Add them to the comments below!